I was a bit hurry to cross the Malaysian border from the Thai border because I wanted to reach Alor Setar, the next city before Ramadan’s last day. It was almost the end of Ramadan and I wanted to have experience of fasting. I have traveled a few different Muslim areas during Ramadan which people don’t drink and eat between sunrise and sunset. But it was the first time to trying fasting. I got a chance to stay at the local people’s house. So it was really good to learn how to do fasting.
I made the video about it.
The last day of Ramadan was a bit similar to like New Year Eve. The family gathered and had a meal together. Also, they visited neighbors. They let me try to wear their traditional clothes that it was a good experience.
Before coming to Malaysia, I was worried since a friend, who cycled in Malaysia as a solo female told me she had experiences of sexual harassment during cycling. She rode more on the non-touristic route, eastern Malaysia which was a more conservative part. I asked three other female solo cyclists and two of them also had several sexual harassment while traveling by bike. Although I would cycle on the western side, busy tourist route, I was worried. As traveling world alone, I could guess what can happen in this case. So I asked local people to cycle together. They had to work that they couldn’t join all the way. But some of them cycled from city to city with me that it helped me a lot.
It was so good to drink coconut in the middle of the road.
To visit Malaysia and Penang was the second time. I visited Penang last year for having a speech. I learned that to cycle was different from to travel by backpack. When I traveled by backpack last year for two weeks, I thought Malaysia was so peaceful country while different races live together. But as meeting more people on a bike, I could see that deep inside was really complicated.
Actually Malaysia reminded me of South Africa. They had conflicts after the UK colonizing. What similar thing was the way some race talks about another race, the way the government treats some race, and the way some race is richer than another race and so on.
The different thing was South Africa turned to the most dangerous country as they couldn’t overcome conflict which the UK made. But Malaysia succeeded to show the peace. Worse case was Myanmar sadly as there was genocide on the border.
However, Malaysia looks like doing better than any other country about living together. If Malaysia works harder on living together happily, they could teach the world about how different races can live together. When I was in South Africa, I felt so sad sometimes. But in Malaysia, sometimes I could see hope.
I liked to walk on different small alleys in Penang.
I had to wait for the ferry with so many bikes to leave Penang.
This was so delicious. I found another local guy to cycle together for the next two days. The good thing to cycle with local people was they did know what to eat!!!!!!!!!!!
There was little place for tourism on the way. I was not sure who scared more; Fugu or Me?
We visited the factory of charcoal near.
I really loved Malaysian food! There were so many different kinds of foods to enjoy!!
We stayed at the hostel in Taiping. He explained to me that it was the city of the rain.
I smiled and told him we were lucky cause we didn’t have big rain yet.
But very soon there was heavy rain. We stopped to run away from the rain and had breakfast.
I had seen many monkeys on the road that it was fun.
I could learn how to do parenting from monkeys; Hold tail!
I cycled alone after he left for work. It was funny that when I cycled alone to get out of the next city, one local guy kept coming and going. If he did only one or two times, I would think he was curious. But if he did many times, there was a chance he would touch my body and run away, which I had experienced on my trip. The way to chase him was simple. I shouted at him like GO AWAY, then he really disappeared. This was the reason I would like to stay on the main road. I cannot shout on the small road because it can be dangerous then. But on the big road, it’s easy to kick away with only one shouting.
Again another local friend joined. I met him last year while visiting for a speech that I was happy to meet him again.
It was really good to cycle on a small quiet road with him
After he went back home, I cycled to the capital. There was a very narrow road under construction that I tried to cycle on the shoulder. But I fell down on slippery mud and everything got dirt.
At the beginning of the shoulder, there was no mud. But suddenly it turned to the most dangerous place to cycle.
To enter the capital of Malaysia by bicycle was extremely hard. I thought I would be hit and died as the road was designed only for cars like Dubai. But everything was alright after I arrived. My host had 3D printer that he made something special cover for my phone.
Malaysia was more expensive than Thailand for renting. I could rent only the room with the money which I could get the apartment in Thailand. I had stayed for one month and paid for coworking space for updating blog and YouTube. I made the video of coworking space to explain what it is.
I made the video of Kuala Lumpur (KL) street food thanks to local friends.
I had an interview with the local newspaper. He took me street durian markets later with his girlfriend. To have durian was for the first time that I made the video. The smell was like a bit of gas and sewage. The first bite was disgusting. But after it, I started liking.
Before leaving Malaysia, I met found of Zafigo again who organized the event in Penang. She was knowledgeable that I enjoyed talking about politics and social issues with her.
On the way to leave KL, there was so heavy rain that I was scared to cycle. Once I found some building next to the road, I waited until it calmed.
In the next city, I met a friend whom I had known through Zafigo. It was always so good to see a friend again. But it was really sad to say goodbye.
In Melaka, it was good to stay with the local family that I could learn about their culture. They helped me to fix the bicycle as well.
Later I moved to the city center to see more for it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site. It was full of Malaysian and international tourists.
Definitely, it was a really beautiful city that I loved it.
The mosque built in 2006 was really popular to tourists for it was beautiful at sunset.
Random street picture. Melaka and Penang were the lovely cities to walk around.
One local girl working at a family business invited me to her hotel in Melaka later.
She showed me many delicious restaurants.
Thank to her, I could make the video of street food in Melaka.
In return, I had a presentation at her cafe.
It was a lovely time to meet all of them.
The guy next to me would cycle with me to the border together. And the next guy worked at the bicycle shop that he changed and fixed so many things! Huge thanks!
When we had lunch on the road, I found an interesting thing. She made all of this and put rice into. She would cook it!
He was from Penang and cycling around Malaysia.
When we arrived in the next city, there was a festival.
They threw coconut on the ground and broke it as the part of the festival.
When we arrived at Pontian, there was another thing which was called Hungry Ghost Festival. People burnt fake money for the ghost.
There was a store about selling fake money and other stuff.
I was curious about it that I talked to one guy burning fake money for the ghost.
There was Pontian cycling club. They had the place to gather and even they made bunk bed for cyclists. They said that they usually kidnapped when they see cycling traveler on the road, feed them, and give their place for sleeping. There were full of beer and other drinks at their place. It was like paradise. We stayed here for three days and ate lots of things.
After the drink, we went to have hangover food. It was like 2 am but there were so many people surprisingly.
One of the club members had a hair salon and they cut my hairs and dye for free.
They took us to Pineapple farm as well.
And I had the best pineapple in my life at this farm.
They took us the southernmost tip of Mainland Malaysia as well.
We drank every night. And he showed how to open the beer with newspaper. This was literally an amazing cycling club I’ve ever seen! Respect!
The border was only 50km far. On the way, I looked around the fishing store. What an interesting way to sell fish!
I tried Durian again! And I really loved it!!
Near the border city, there was the only big highway. To enter into KL by bike was really scared that I didn’t want to cycle again on the highway. So this time I chose small roads I saw on the map. But it was a dirt road and cows were blocking the road. (Or I was blocking the road)
We negotiated peacefully and it was no problem to pass.
He was the cyclist who had the lightest luggage for the trip’ I’ve ever seen. Even he put things on the plastic bag and hung on the handlebar. If you really want to do something, you will do it in any way. If you don’t want much, you will not do with excuses.
It was the third time to see them as I’ve met them in Melaka and Pontian. I had stayed at their place and it was good to learn many things from them. I tried again durian, but it was not tasty, for it didn’t ripen.
The picture just before leaving the country;
Myanmar was an impressive country as a tourist. But for me the best country in Southeast Asia was Malaysia. The reason was that I just made more friends there. (And foods were so amazing) If someone asked me what’s the best country, I usually named the country where I made more friends. Very simple, isn’t it?
Special thanks to all Malaysian people for cycling with me, helping fix my bicycle, letting me stay at their house, introducing foods and culture, and being kind to me.
I believed I will visit Malaysia again soon or later.
Vlog of cycling in Malaysia
Days in Malaysia = 65 Days
Distance of cycling in Malaysia = 1,087 km (679 mi)
Expenditure in Malaysia = US$ 1,800